The research council system is inflexible and fragmented – Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen

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25 June 2009

The research council system is inflexible and fragmented

That is why an independent evaluation panel has recommended that a joint board be established for all funding functions of the entire system, writes the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation in a press release.

”As the system functions today it is both inflexible and fragmentary. Every council and foundation acts independently, each with their own profile, agenda and granting practice and they compete with each other over funding and political attention. There is a need for strong leadership with a great deal of latitude. A joint board, which will oversee the allocation of funding with a focus on the further increase in quality and innovation in Danish research" explains Søren Isaksen, chairman of the evaluation panel and a Group Executive Director with NKT Holding.

Not enough international collaboration

On Wednesday the 24th of June Søren Isaksen presented the evaluation of the Danish research council system at a consultation conference where he pointed out that a very rigid research system has a number of unfortunate consequences. This includes, for example, that the system can not implement new initiatives, it has difficulty adapting to new needs and has difficulty in engaging itself in new international research programmes.

"The task of strengthening Denmark's international engagement has fallen short. It lacked a unified strategy for international work and lacked agreement over who did what. That is why we recommend that a joint board is given the responsibility for such a strategy", explains Søren Isaksen

In 2009 alone, the the research council system is giving out 2,26 billion kroner for research and development. The current system was established January 1, 2004. The evaluation has had the task of answering the question of whether the organization and function of the system lives up to its purpose. The law will be revised in the next Folketing year by the politicians and here the evaluation by the independent evaluation panel will form the foundation for the revision.